Skin Smart 001: Hyaluronic Acid

Recently with my interest in skincare, I've been researching the science that goes into creating products and the benefits of specific ingredients. There aren't a lot of posts out there that aren't from medical journals or full of super technical jargon that you have to google mid-article (I'm no chemistry buff). I thought I'd start this new 'Skin Smart' series, to break down this info and make it a little easier to digest!

The first ingredient I want to talk about is Hyaluronic Acid, which has been a super-popular ingredient in skincare for a long time. First and foremost, forget about the term "acid." A lot of people at work start freaking out when I talk about HA, wondering why I want them to put acid on their skin. Hyaluronic Acid is different from typical acids like Glycolic which are meant to break down dead skin cells. HA is a polysaccharide (carbohydrate) that naturally occurs in your skin. While it is throughout your body, it's found in abundance in the space between skin cells and is a cushioning agent. The greatest thing about HA is that it has an amazing ability to retain moisture. We're talking one gram can hold up to six (SIX) litres of water (aka almost 1000 times its weight).  As we age, our skin loses the ability to retain moisture, which explains why babies have such soft skin. Those little suckers have a super high concentration of HA (not fair they don't even appreciate it).

This humectant superpower works to help your skin retain moisture by pulling water out of the air and into your skin. This also means you have to be careful when using it, if the HA can't find water in the air, it'll start pulling it out of the deeper layers of your skin. So if the air outside is dry, make sure you're properly moisturizing as well as using this! Recent studies also show that Hyaluronic Acid can help provide antioxidant defense against free radicals! This gets pretty technical, so I'll try my best to make it easy to understand. Basically, free radicals form when an unpaired electron steals an electron from another molecule (it was just lonely). This causes a chain reaction in molecules, and can wreak havoc on living tissue. Antioxidants help because they give their electrons to the lonely, un-bonded ones.
Hyaluronic Acid is found in a ton of products nowadays, so it's fairly easy to find. The first experience I ever had was with the Indeed Labs Hydraluron Serum. I love the stuff, but it has a pretty high concentration of HA so you have to be careful to moisturize well on top. My favourite product at the moment is the Glossier Super Bounce (who saw that coming?). It has a combination of HA and Vitamin B5, which helps regenerate skin layers, and feels much more hydrating when using it alone. Other popular products containing Hyaluronic Acid include Pixi's Glow Tonic and the Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream but there are tons out there, so get reading those ingredient labels!

I hope my waffling helped you guys understand Hyaluronic Acid and its properties a little more! Let me know if there's something specific you'd like me to talk about in the next edition!